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Are the Beatles the Greatest Rock Band?

Updated on March 9, 2016
Beatlemania hit from ages 8-16 the hardest in 1963-4
Beatlemania hit from ages 8-16 the hardest in 1963-4
The classic Beatle position  on stage
The classic Beatle position on stage
1969 The End
1969 The End
1963 The Start
1963 The Start

I think that the answer to this maybe varied due to generational differences. Objectively, trying to describe how The Beatles impacted the world in mythic-like proportions to a person who had no exposure to them is difficult. It is difficult to convey just how important they were to revolutionizing rock music, culture, and men’s styles. Those born after they stopped being band, or know little about them, simply discount them.

To be fair, The Beatles are not the only band to change rock music, they were simply the first and the only ones to dominate an era- the 1960’s. Had the band not stormed across the globe during that era, there might not be long hair on men, or the Beatle cut (that so many men have even today), or there might not have been a Phil Collins or Eric Clapton and a host of other musicians that followed. You see, when The Beatles started their mania in 1963, guitar and drum sales soared. Every kid or teen suddenly wanted to play either, start a band, write their own songs, let their hair grow long. Not just in England, but across the USA. Many, as time turned into the 70’s, were members of bands who were influenced by the Beatle songs-their structure, their harmony, their perfect balance in personalities and musical influences. They saw how diverse The Beatles music was and their 1968 White LP showcases this. These bands sought to emulate them in some manner. Even today, you can identify a Beatle sound, just as you can hear a Beach Boy sound or a Led Zeppelin sound or a Frank Sinatra sound. The best artists have their own sound ID.

The Beatles were the perfect rock band, they had: four different personalities, each with different musical influences and their music, they always improved a cover song (which was always better than the original, listen to Money or Shout!), they were always creating material, they had four different distinct vocals for their music, they had a producer (George Martin) who added his own musical improvements to some songs, and the harmony between Lennon and McCartney was perfect when if occurred. That sound always improved the song.

Many might say the Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin or Cream are rock’s best band ever. For those who are in the dark, the Beatles opened the door for the Stones. The Stones really only had one singer, their music was nearly always a blues cover song until their first major hit, I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, in 1965. By then, the Beatles had conquered the world. They were never on the same playing level. The Stones even tried to cover a Beatle song, I Wanna Be Your Man, from Meet the Beatles LP. As for Led Zeppelin, their first LP, was years after the Beatles. There is no question they were revolutionary for their hard rock songs and amazing vocals and sizzling guitar. They, like the Beatles, created a new sound for rock to branch off to, which still inspire hard rock bands today. They had their own music ID. I am sure that when Beatlemania raced over England in 1963, its members donned the Beatle look and were among those buying guitars etc. The Beatles inspired another great rock band. As for Cream, another late sixties band, their guitarist, now very famous, was Eric Clapton (who also played on the Beatle White LP) has said the Beatles did inspire him to buy a guitar and start playing back in 1963. Although hard rock was not a Beatle style, ironically, their Helter Skelter on the White LP, was done with that Led Zeppelin sound with amazing guitar work. It proved the Beatles could and did do any musical style they chose to. BTW, the song is simply about going up and down a slide in a playground, not about Charle’s Mansion!

So, yes, the Beatles are the greatest rock band while they were active and for their influence that all rock musicians acknowledge. The sixties produced a few iconic bands that continue to influence today: The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix . Today, when a teen hears a song and says, "That sounds like Green Day", they probably don't know that Green Day got that sound from The Beatles. That is what a legend is.

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    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      2 years ago

      I am glad we agree 100%. The Beatles took cover songs from their original performers and made it sound like THEY had written the song. Even the lost songs from the Get Back sessions never put on LP (like John's Bring it on Home") were good. Paul's Maybe I'm Amazed released on his first LP after the breakup was first recorded in the Get Back Sessions. Even songs they wrote for other bands were quite catchy and reached the #1 spot. These were songs they never recorded.

    • Alternative Prime profile image

      Alternative Prime 

      2 years ago from > California

      I can't Disagree with U either perrya ~ I would like to add the FOLLOWING ~ Aside from Blues, Blue-Grass, JAZZ, Classical Styles, Ethnic Music and a few others I'm sure I've missed, the BEATLES did almost EVERYTHING within the "ROCK" Genre and derivatives thereof first ~ They were the First Hard Rock Band and there's a very good argument to be made that "Revolution" and perhaps even "Helter Skelter" were the very first "Heavy Metal" tunes ever written ~ Although Genius Tony Iommi & Black Sabbath without a doubt, took that lead & went on Perfect that GENRE ~

      I challenge everyone to go back and check out the "REVOLUTION" Vid on You-Tube and see what the "Fab FOUR" were "CONJURING & Innovating" while the Stones, the WHO, Eric Clapton, and even the Beach BOYs and all others were still STUCK in the 50's & ~

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      2 years ago

      I cannot disagree, but, like the Beatles, Led Zep did what the Beatles did but for the hard rock genre. They defined it and remained forever the best of them all. For me, hard rock is like Helter Skelter or Whole Lotta Love, Communication Breakdown etc. The fab four did not venture into that genre much at all. I will say that Helter Skelter probably did inspire Led Zep because that song was done in early 1968 for the White LP and the first Led Zep LP arrived in 1969. So, kudos to the Beatles because Paul is screaming like Robert Plant.

    • Alternative Prime profile image

      Alternative Prime 

      2 years ago from > California

      YES ~ The BEATLES ~ The GREATEST Rock, Rock & ROLL, Pop, Commercial, Psychedelic, LOVE Song, Experimental, Classic ROCK, Easy Listening ~ And if Led Zeppelin didn't follow in the BEATLES Footsteps, the "Fab FOUR" would be considered the Greatest HARD Rock Band as well ~

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